It's a Marathon not a Sprint
In the forty years Karen and I have lived in Cincinnati we have seen a lot of progress in the area of mutual love and respect between and among differing groups. On the day we honor Martin Luther King, Jr. it is appropriate to think about what good things have happened to bring love to the world and what needs yet to happen.
Karen and I drove into Cincinnati with a car and U Haul Trailer full of clothing, household goods and academic materials in the summer of 1967. Those of you old enough to remember that long ago will have pictures of racial strife come to mind. Campus and urban riots, Black Power and political chaos were daily in the news. Separation if not downright segregation were common in work, education and religion. Tension between races was extremely high.
In my view, things are much better now but we still have a long ways to go. Anything that has been so strongly and deeply ingrained within a society as racial bias and racial separation cannot be rooted out easily. Just as it took forty years of wandering to "Get Egypt out of the Hebrew Children" it will take much more than forty years to rid America of racial bias.
I think things are much better now, especially among Christians. Not many congregations are fully integrated, but progress has occurred. People now are free to vote with their feet and preferences. There are no rules, laws or social stigma attached to "crossing over" from a White to a Black Church or vice verse.
In the past forty years I have marched, prayed and worshipped with people of all colors and cultures. We have started ministries dedicated to breaking down walls of racial bias and rejection. We have preached, taught and attended numerous services at Black Churches and Black leaders do the same in White groups.
Perhaps we can speed things up now that new generations of Christian leaders untainted by past practices are coming up. We are not yet entering the Promised Land of a neutral racial interaction but we are sending spies into the other side of the Jordan to root out the remaining enemies of harmony.
In the Cincinnati Enquirer editorial today is a quote I like. It is:
After a letter writer warned King against being in too great a hurry for equal rights saying even Christianity took 2,000 years to accomplish what it did, King wrote, "Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely rational notion that there is something in the flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. But human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers with God." http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080121/EDIT01/801210324/1090
"Human progress comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers with God".
Wow! What a deeply insightful statement for accomplishing good things. How can we learn to better cooperate with God? Prayer is the first step.